From the serious to the satirical Single and Single (6 hours), John Le Carre's singularly crafted new novel is doubly engaging on audio; Le Carre reads, and he is, to my ears, one of the very best. Villainy and virtue are murkier since the Berlin wall and Communism fell, and Le Carre's brilliantly conceived characters and situations reflect our ambiguous new world. The intrigue is not between sovereign nations; rather, here it's criminal elements from former Russian states and an established London finance house known to trade in the clean and the dirty with equal equanimity. I won't even try to tell the story its signature complexity is its own reward. Suffice it to say that it opens with a shocker set on a stony Turkish hillside, moves to London, Istanbul, the Caucasus, and introduces Nat Brock (a cool, clever, George Smiley-like customs agent) and Oliver Single (heir to the House of Single and all its misdeeds), among others whom I hope we'll meet again.

Sukey Howard reports on spoken word audio each month.

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